Happy 2011 (and a waffle sandwich)

My dearest readers, it is almost 2011. Can you believe it? I certainly can’t.

This year has been crazy. It’s been rough at times and some of the best things ever have happened as well.

I really can’t wait for 2011. I can’t wait for our wedding and all the new experiences we will have.

On the last day of the year we celebrated by rearranging our whole apartment. I’m rather happy about it.

And we made waffle sandwiches.

new waffle iron

We received a fancy little waffle maker for Christmas. It had to get broken in immediately.

makin waffles

So we had waffles for breakfast. We made the Chelsea Waffles from Vegan Brunch and of course there were more than we could eat so we saved a few for later.

After we were hungry from moving all our furniture, I grilled up some apple field roast sausage and some slabs of tofu. Shawn made an amazing cheezy sauce. We piled it all together and devoured it. Definitely amazing. Delicious and amazing.

Tonight I’m looking forward to celebrating with some dear friends. My resolution this year is to be more magical. I think that’s what my life needs.

Happy New Year!


Winter vacation

Well it’s the one fabulous week of vacation Shawn and I have off together. We spent Christmas at my brother’s house with his family in Las Vegas. Though we were only there for a brief time, it was really relaxing and nice. I’m feeling very fortunate this Christmas. We made cookies, danced around like idiots playing Just Dance 2 and visited the Magical Forest.

One of the highlights was going hiking in Red Rock Canyon. Since it has been raining heavily there, there was a beautiful waterfall.

This is Wrigley, my brother’s dog. She’s so sweet and absolutely adorable. They adopted her in New York about 9 years ago.

My nephew, Dylan, particularly enjoyed running under the waterfall and jumping over streams.

Alas, I wish our vacation was pure vacation. Instead, I’ll be working on a ton of wedding projects. I can’t believe how soon till we get married. I can’t wait.

So, I now bring you my monster vacation list of things to finish by the end of the year.

(See I was just bribing you with Shawn’s lovely photos. You can see some more of our holiday photos that Shawn took if you like.)

Alix’s (mostly wedding) to do list

  1. Finish and mail out our invitations – This project is ending up taking quite a bit more time than I anticipated.
  2. Work on our guest favors – I’m hand making each one, but can’t quite share what they are yet.
  3. Figure out a hotel for our guests – Apparently our wedding weekend is a busy one and everywhere seems to be booked.
  4. Finalize our catering – Yep, our wedding is less than 2 months away and we don’t have this settled yet. Yikes!
  5. Plan our honeymoon – We have picked a place and booked flights, but need to figure out the details like hotels…
  6. Finally take our engagement photos
  7. Order our wedding bands
  8. Find someone to officiate our wedding
  9. Do some blog housekeeping – just a few nips and tucks here and there for the new year

So there we have it. Can’t wait to start crossing things off. I’m really hoping to have the invites done tomorrow but it’s looking a bit unlikely. Then we’ll be taking our photos on Thursday, which will be much more fun than anything else. We’ve also gotten a lot done…so I’ll share some of that, so everything isn’t so daunting.

Really awesome wedding stuff we’ve accomplished recently

  1. I got my shoes delivered yesterday. I love them. All thanks to you lovely readers, Jo in particular, who showed them to me.
  2. Shawn ordered his outfit. It’s really cool and his groomsmen are going to look great too.
  3. We’ve booked a photographer. This was a really hard choice and things ended up working out in an amazing way.
  4. I should have my dress by next week!
  5. We figured out a really cool plan for our rehearsal dinner which will be fun, low key and really let us spend time with our guests.

After making these lists, I’m feeling pretty good. I know there are a lot of other things I haven’t listed to be done (like a cake…), but I’m not going to worry about those right now. I should really get back to work as I have a lot of cutting and gluing to do with those lovely invites.

Happy Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve! While I’m not a religious person, nor do I particularly care for what Christmas has evolved into, but I am a huge fan of holidays. I love the excitement, the festivities, the specialness that holidays bring about. I feel that Christmas time has this feeling tenfold.

christmas branch

We tried to get a tree this year. It was a fake one, flocked and pre-lit. It was also the saddest Charlie Brown Christmas tree you’ve ever seen. But upon trying to actually purchase it, we were told it was not for sale. Major holiday let down.

christmas branch

Instead I decorated a branch I found by wrapping it in twinkle lights and hanging tiny glittered blue and silver bulbs. It was supposed to be hung from the ceiling but in the pre-holiday haste, it is merely dangling from a curtain rod.

christmas branch

It’s sweet and gives our living room a warm glow at night. Next year when we have our first home chosen together we’ll have a tree I’m sure.

christmas branch

Here is to putting away daily stresses, forgetting about emotional drama and being grateful for what you have. Here is to being present and appreciating your life for what it is today, not just what it will be or what it was. Here is to relaxing.

I hope your Christmas is filled with love and magic.

Christmas wishes

meeme wishes

Do you have a Christmas wish this year? Something special that you really want? Maybe it’s not a thing, maybe it’s a change in your life or a feeling you’re in search of. Maybe it’s a wish for someone else.

These two little cats are very practical in their wishes. They wish for what they really really want. So much so, that I’m sure I know what they’re wishing for.

pom poms!

Sometimes when you wish for something hard enough, it really does come true. Sometimes a friend comes over and brings you an entire bag full of your favorite pom poms.

mochi snuggles

Sometimes your mom and dad stay home for a whole week and give you all the snuggles in the world; making up for all the times they wouldn’t let you sit on their computers while they were working.

What are your Christmas wishes?

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Hello my dears. It’s nearly Christmas and I’m bringing you another cookie recipe for the holiday. This is the most festive of the bunch for sure. While there were a few more in my agenda, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and unable to make all I set out to. These cookies should totally make up for that though.

candy cane massacre

One of the most fun parts of making these is decorating with crushed candy canes. Not only do you get to take your holiday frustration out on some candy canes in pulverizing them (I used a hammer), but they make the cookies look like pink shiny snowy Christmas cookies. I love it.

The cookies are crunchy and rich. The peppermint is refreshing especially paired with the sweet chocolate. The original recipe used white chocolate but I much prefer dark chocolate, so I went with that.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart, found here

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp warm water + 1 tsp egg replacer whipped together until frothy
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4 crushed candy canes or 15 or so peppermint candies
  • 1 lb chopped dark chocolate

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda & powder and salt, then set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together the Earth Balance and sugar. Gradually add the water and egg replace mixture and continue to beat until well combined. Add in peppermint extract and continue to beat. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until the dough just comes together. Shape into two disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least and hour.

Preheat oven to 325° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into until it is 1/8 inch thick. Use a 2″ cookie cutter to cut cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Cool in the freezer for 15 minutes and then bake until crispy, about 12 minutes. Move parchment with cookies on it to a cooling rack and let cool.

Using a double boiler or a bowl set on top of a pot of water, melt your chocolate. Once it is smooth, let sit on stove so that it cools enough to not burn you, but remains soft. Sift your crushed candy canes into a fine powder and separate chunks. Set aside both to decorate. If it is particularly humid, you may have to sift the powdered peppermints again.

Dip the tops of each cookie in your melted chocolate making sure the entire top is covered, but tapping off any excess. I found this was easiest to do with my fingers, but be careful if your chocolate is still hot. It cold easily be done with a fork or tongs (chopsticks?). Sprinkle the crushed peppermint chunks on half and the peppermint powder on the other. Let set in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Best eaten within the next day.

For more holiday cookie ideas, check out the recipes for these Molasses Sandwich Cookies.

Or try your hand at these Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies.

There are these delicious Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.

Adorable, sweet Lemon Icebox Cookies.

Or the awesome Espresso Bean Shortbreads.

Happy Baking!